Hero's reception for McManus as Limerick win first All-Ireland since 1973
Legendary racehorse owner JP McManus was the toast of another sport on Sunday after Limerick ended a 45-year wait to win an All-Ireland GAA title at Croke Park.
McManus, who has backed Limerick GAA since 2004, was thanked by the winning captain Declan Hannon in his victory speech before being given a rapturous reception when he held aloft the Liam MacCarthy Cup in the dressing room after a narrow win over Galway.
McManus is known for naming some of his thoroughbreds after GAA stars, including Eamonn Grimes, the last man to captain Limerick to All-Ireland success before Sunday.
He told the Limerick Leader: “On behalf of myself, Noreen and the kids, it’s such an honour and privilege to be associated with this great bunch of young men and their wives and girlfriends, who play a big part also in making sure things run as smoothly as they can for their partners.”
He added: “We are involved with this group of lads, but to say they are involved is not enough – this is a committed bunch.
“It’s an old phrase of mine, but the difference between being involved and being committed is like when you have bacon and eggs for breakfast – the hen was involved, but the pig was committed!”
Despite his modesty, McManus played a huge part in Sunday’s All-Ireland success. Limerick had been beaten in five All-Ireland hurling finals since they last tasted victory in 1973, but since McManus took over as the main sponsor of GAA in the county back in 2004, through his non-commercial banner of Sporting Limerick, they have lacked for nothing.
McManus has been associated with some superstar racehorses, but his comments after Sunday’s game would suggest he got as much out of Limerick’s victory as he did any top-level racing success.
In the immediate aftermath, and referencing the pulsating finish that saw Limerick scrape home by one point after last year’s champions Galway did their best to erode the deficit late on, he said: “It’s so special – I'm really proud. I don’t know if I ever got as much pleasure out of a game as I got today – and I know I have a heart!”
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